Resume Formatting

The goal of a resume is to tell the story of your experiences as they relate to a specific job description. See our sample resumes for formatting guidelines and ideas. Remember, your resume should represent you and also catch the employer’s eye. Resume guidelines may vary from industry to industry, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with specific industry examples.

Resume Format Tips

  • One page. Keep your resume to one page. Save it as a PDF or print in on resume paper.
  • Be concise. Use brief statements in the form of bullets or sentences.
  • Keep font size to 10, 11, or 12 point and set margins to no less than 0.5 inch all around.
  • Do not use the word “I” or other first-person pronouns.
  • Use past tense in describing past positions and use present tense for your current position(s).
  • Be consistent in your use of punctuation throughout the document. For instance, either use periods at the end of all your bullets or not.
  • Use bold, italics and underlining formatting to break up the text and make the document easy to read.

Resume Content

  • See our action verbs page to find verbs that are more descriptive than common verbs such as “do/did,” “completed,” “responsible for,” etc.
  • Customize. Tailor your resume to focus on the work and extracurricular experiences that are most relevant to the job or industry you are targeting.
  • Include multiple titles and responsibilities if you had multiple roles at one organization.
  • Do not lie, exaggerate, or include something that you would not want to discuss in an interview.
  • Avoid Georgetown jargon and acronyms without first spelling them out (e.g., GUSA, NHS, GPB).
  • Do not include personal data (e.g., birth date, marital status, photograph). If you are applying to a position in another country, find out what the resume expectations are for that country.

Last-Minute Resume Checklist

  • Create a log of applications you send. Include position descriptions, dates, contact information, follow-up date (if appropriate), and notes on follow-up communications.
  • Have someone else look it over. Do not rely on spell-check! Remember — review the names of companies and people.
  • Save documents as PDFs with appropriate names. Example: M.CrawfordEventPlannerResume.
  • Make sure your outgoing voicemail greeting for the phone number you list on your resume is professional.
  • Is your email address professional? (for instance, no “party123@gmail.com”)?
  • Write a relevant email subject line, such as “Application for Event Planner Position #4420”?
  • Print all documents on neutral resume paper and use a laser printer if you’re delivering it in as a hard copy.

Resume and Cover Letter Templates

Check out our online resume builder for help with formatting and other common issues.

Sample Resume Formatting

Step 1: Header

  • Your name should be bold and in a larger font than the rest of the resume.
  • Below your name, list your current mailing address, phone number, and the email address you most frequently use. You may use your permanent mailing address if you wish.

Step 2: Education

  • List your most recent education first. Indicate your university, your school (e.g., Georgetown College), major, minor(s), and graduation month and year.
  • Include your GPA on your resume. You may also include the GPA for your major and minor, especially if they are higher than your cumulative GPA. If you are hesitating to include GPA, connect with a member of our staff.

Step 3: Experience

The experience section of your resume is where you list and describe your experiences that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Often those experiences will be jobs and internships. But they don’t need to be. They might also be extra-curricular activities or coursework. 

List and describe your experiences in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

You might divide your experiences into two different categories—based on skills or experience in a particular industry—if doing so helps you make a stronger case for your candidacy. 

For instance, you might devote a section of your resume to your experiences in a particular industry. Instead of one “Experiences” section, you could create a section called “Relevant Experience” and another “Additional Experience.” Or you might get even more specific and call a section something like “International Relations Experience” and another “Additional Experience.” This can help direct an employer’s attention to the experiences you most want them to pay attention to.

If you create multiple experience sections on your resume, list the entries in each section in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

For each entry in your experiences section: 

  • Create a header that includes the name of the organization, the location of the experience, dates, and your position title.
  • Write three or four sentences describing the work you did. Think about what you accomplished or contributed during the experience. Avoid weak verbs such as “did” or “worked.” Avoid passive constructions, such as “responsibilities include.” If you want help finding strong action verbs to improve the writing in your resume, see our action verbs page.
Download sample chronological resume
Download sample combination resume

Step 4: Activities

This is the place to list your extra-curricular activities, such as sports, on-campus involvement, or volunteer experience. You may provide a brief description of accomplishments and responsibilities for each.

Step 5: Skills

Important skills to include are:

  • Languages–be sure not to overstate (basic, intermediate, advanced or fluent).
  • Technical skills–list specific and relevant software with which you are familiar (e.g., MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, Adobe Photoshop, SPSS).
  • Any training or certification programs you completed that would be relevant to the job.
  • Social media and web technologies, if applicable (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest).
  • You may list the headings under two separate subtitles (“Extracurricular Activities” and “Skills”) or one (“Skills & Activities”) if you need to save space.